I don’t know about you, but as a business owner and digital nomad, I often feel totally overwhelmed and out of my depth. So today I thought I’d share some tips on how I deal with overwhelm when it hits.
So, yesterday I shared a little poll in the DNG Facebook Group because I wanted to write a blog post to get back into a content creation routine, but I was totally confused, overwhelmed and overthinking what to write about. Here’s what I shared:
“OMG I’m in a total overthinking loop right now!! Help me! ? I want to start blogging again and can’t decide what to write about first, ugh! Which blog post would you like to read?”
I gave a few options and then my friend Sonia Jaeger (who is an online therapist and long-time nomad) added the poll option “OMG I’m in a total overthinking loop right now – and how to get out of it”.
I see what she did there ?
And guess what, lots of people voted on that option.
In the meantime, I had tried to write about a different topic (how to create structure while working at home – despite hating structure; coming soon!).
But my thoughts were so all over the place ? and the imposter syndrome was so strong ?♀️ and…. well I got totally overwhelmed. ?
I did finish the post but I had all these doubts swirling in my head:
- Who am I to share this?
- I’m too late, everyone knows this already.
- I should probably think of something more important to write about.
And on an on. My Inner Critic was having a field day, I’m pretty sure she was wolfing down popcorn while enjoying the show.
I was almost ready to give up when I realised, hey, that’s all BS, I am overthinking, overworrying, overwhelmed.
And to be super honest I’ve been feeling like that for weeks now.
That’s why I haven’t written all those helpful, valuable blog posts before, the ones I felt I should be writing. ?♀️
And that’s exactly the problem right now, I shouldn’t be doing anything at all apart from looking after myself and being there for my loved ones and members.
And I’ve been doing that.
So then I thought, if I’m feeling all this crazy overwhelm around my business and how to show up for my community, how to add value in a crazy time like this….then you might be feeling similar.
And maybe it’s most helpful right now to talk about THAT.
So that’s what I’ll be doing, I’m going to share how to deal with overwhelm and how I get myself out of those total overthinking loops when they happen (all the time fyi).
And maybe one or two things will resonate with you. And they don’t always happen in the same order either, so feel free to pick and choose.
Recognise what’s happening
I’ve spent countless days over the past years (and especially in the last month) overthinking everything I’m doing. I can go round and round in circles driving myself virtually insane. ?
But eventually, I will realise what’s going on. Like I finally take a step outside this vortex of crazy and realise I’ve been in one of those situations. ?♀️
As soon as that happens, I can name it:
“Oh, it’s the crazy overthinking spiral of doom! Hello old friend!” or maybe
“Aha, it’s the Inner Critic in cahoots with Lady Imposter Syndrome. What a team.” ?
Once I name it, it takes away some of the power it has over me. Then it’s time to…
Take a step back
Yep, it’s time to literally take a breath. A deep breath or 17. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
I know you might be rolling your eyes right now, I used to roll mine so hard when people told me to breathe. But that shit works.
I’ve used the Calm app which has this cool breathing bubble tool that helps you count your breath, or sometimes I just sit up, close my eyes and breathe. ?♀️
Asking for help can be difficult, especially in our businesses. Especially when we think we have to show up as a strong leadership kinda person, you know.
But we all need help, and the sooner we realise that and get on board, the sooner we can create much more meaningful lives, businesses and ultimately a better world.
Woah, that went big quickly hey? ?
But in all seriousness, whenever I’m stuck with anything, there always comes a point where it hits me. Oh, I haven’t asked for help yet. Why don’t I ask my community what they actually want to read? ? Duh.
Or why don’t I ask my members what virtual events they’d like to attend this month?
And it works every single time. Like with this blog post, I knew I’d get a nudge in the right direction. (Thank you, Sonia!)
Btw, if you’re looking for some awesome women to help you when you’re feeling totally ovwhelmed, then join the DNG Inner Circle, it’s our Virtual Coworking & Social Club! The doors are open right now and we’d love to meet you!! > >
Stop Shaving the Yak
What the heck, Jenny? Why are you shaving a yak???
Ok, not a real yak of course, a metaphorical one. Bare with me.
I read about this on Seth Godin’s blog and I love the visual of this.
Shaving the yak means feeling like you have to take 8 steps back before you can take one forward.
The example goes something like this: you want to clean your car, but the hose is broken, so you need to fix it, but you don’t have the tool, so you could ask to borrow your neighbour’s toolbox, but you already borrowed their beanbag and you have to replace the stuffing because it fell out….
So the next thing you know, you’re at the zoo, shaving a yak because you wanted to wash your car. ?
I do this in my business all the time and it’s one of the main causes of overwhelm.
Once I notice the yak, I can stop and take a look around.
What is the MVP?
If I don’t want to end up shaving the yak, I need to find something that I can do ? right now, that will take me in the right direction ? and is achievable without me going down the spiral of doom again.
So I think what’s the MVP, the minimum viable product here? Or in other words, what is the simplest version that I can do right now?
If I want to write a blog post, I can either overthink and try to write the next viral hit, or I can keep it simple and think about what do I know right now, that I can share and add value to my potential readers. Something small, a bit helpful or entertaining.
Then do that.
Do what’s fun right now
At the same time, I also really like listening to my gut in those moments. Like with writing a blog post yesterday, it all just felt wrong. Then when I saw Sonia’s idea for THIS blog post, it felt light, and a bit fun too. ?
I run my business because I love the freedom that comes with it, love my members and creating content for them.
But I also love it because it’s fun. And I think it also should be fun.
When I’m in one of those terrible overthinking moods, nothing feels light and fun anymore. It’s all heavy and too much. ? How can I expect myself to create something valuable in that mood? I can’t.
So I look for the fun part. I recommend you try it some times.
Or I give up
Yeah, that’s right, sometimes I just have to accept that it’s not gonna happen right now. I can’t force myself to create something of value and maybe I just need to do something completely different for a while.
Like hula hooping, yoga, water colouring, doodling, chatting to a friend, going for a walk, reading, binging Fairytale Weddings ? on Disney+ (my guilty pleasure right now) …. you know, the usual. If you need some ideas on how to spend your time during lockdown, I have a blog post about that here > >
Taking a break and coming back with a fresh mind a few hours later or the next day can do wonders. And in this insanely difficult and confusing time we find ourselves in (in lockdown during the corona crisis in case you’re from the future) we simply have to cut ourselves some slack.
And that’s it. Usually, after a combination of the above, I eventually find my groove again and get into a clearer headspace to actually do good work. But I also know the next overwhelm/overthinking phase is just around the corner, but I’ll totally take on that yak ? when it arrives.
I hope you found some of these tips on how to deal with overwhelm helpful and I would love to hear your own tips in the comments!